Emeritus Friendships Alumni Profile: Rob Inouye

My journey with Friends for Youth began in December of 1989 when I was matched with a fantastic 13-year-old named Marvin. Our first outing together was a visit to Alcatraz, and we participated in many memorable group events including a trip to Disneyland, water skiing at Lake Shasta, and multiple holiday parties. We spent many visits together making dinner and just hanging out and talking, and thanks to the amazing job the staff did in matching the two of us, we were both incorporated into each other's families. We have been in and out of contact over the years, including many years where I did not hear from him, and he was finding his own path. Most recently and unexpectedly he found me and called me on my birthday of all days, and we were able to catch up. Who knew 20 years later the lasting connection we built as friends would still link us together? Marvin is now all grown up. He is married and has a one-year-old daughter. I feel fortunate to know him. 
In 2005 I had the amazing opportunity to be matched with a second young man I met at a waitlist event at a San Francisco Giants baseball game. The activity was the result of a collaborative partnership between my employer, Oracle, and Friends for Youth. Thankfully Friends for Youth staff member Sarah Kremer saw how well RJ and I got along sitting in the bleachers watching the game, and soon after we were matched up. RJ and I spent many evenings together talking about life and trying to make our way through the entire California Pizza Kitchen menu at the Hillsdale Mall, but the crowning moment in our Friendship was when he asked me to come to his Back to School Night at Hillsdale High School. I was able to meet all of his teachers and get their contact information so we were able to bring schoolwork into our conversation in addition to what was happening in his life. RJ’s family has since moved around a lot, and we’ve lost touch, but I hope one day RJ and I can reconnect as well. 
Thanks to this second match I was able to re-engage with Friends for Youth, and I joined their Board of Directors in 2006. Having been a Senior Friend and also having assisted the staff as a volunteer counselor in the 1990s made me very comfortable with the Mentoring Services, but being a Board Member made me appreciate in a broader sense how important the organization is on the Peninsula to both the community and the kids we serve. My time as Board Chair helped me sharpen my skills as an advocate for such a worthwhile organization. The services we provide to the community are priceless as are all the memories I have of both my Junior Friends, Board members, and staff members who have come into my life. 

Thanks for everything you do Friends for Youth!

First published in the November 2013 Emeritus Friendships Bulletin


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